State 'to recognise transgenders'
People who have had a sex change will have their new gender officially recognised by the State under laws proposed by the Government.
If enacted, the legislation will give transgender individuals the right to a new birth certificate that reflects their changed sex, and the right to marry or enter a civil partnership in their acquired gender.
Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, who published the General Scheme of the Gender Recognition Bill 2013, confirmed all single transgender people over 18 will be eligible.
"Since becoming minister, I have engaged with the groups representing transgender people and I am very aware that the long-standing lack of legal recognition has caused on-going hurt as well as real practical difficulties," Ms Burton said.
"I believe that this bill will go a long way towards addressing those concerns. It again shows that this Government is prepared to resolve issues left unaddressed for far too long."
People who have had a sex change and are married are not provided for in the legislation, given the existing constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage.
Ms Burton said the legislation would be revisited following a potential referendum on same-sex marriage in the coming years.
It is understood "a couple of hundred" people are currently waiting to have their sex change officially recognised by the State.
And the Government believes there could be around 50 further applications a year.
Ms Burton said the application process would be "fairly straightforward" and purely administrative, with applicants sending a statutory declaration to her department and a letter from the physician confirming their changed gender.